Windows 7 Basics Training

Windows 7 is the newest Microsoft operating system after Windows Vista. Beginning summer of 2011, new PCs at Luther will have Windows 7 installed on them. To effectively use these computers, it is important to have a working knowledge of how to use the new operating system. This ITS training article will help you learn more about Windows 7 and how to use it.


Upon completion of this 1-on-1 training, you will be able to:


Before your computer can do anything exciting, it needs to be turned on. If it’s not already on, press the Power button on your computer.

After Windows 7 starts up, you will be presented with a log in window. You may need to press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to begin.

Log in

If your name already appears in the User Name field, type your Norse Key password in the Password field. Press the Enter key or click on the arrow to the right of the password, and you will be logged on to Windows 7.

If your name does not appear in the user name field, click on the Switch User button and select the Other User button. Then enter your Norse Key username and password in the User Name and Password fields.

Windows 7 demos

There are several demos you can access from your Windows 7 computer in the Welcome Center; these are highly recommended for all users to view. Click on Go online to find out what’s new in Windows 7, then select Go online to learn more.

Windows 7 Basics 1
Windows 7 Basics 1

If you don’t have your computer running Windows 7 yet, you can watch the demos before you receive it by going to the Microsoft Website. You will find short demos on different features in the new Windows 7.

The Desktop

If you have used the Windows Vista desktop, the Windows 7 desktop will look familiar. Your screen will look similar to the picture below. Study the picture and look at the labels for some of the things on your screen, which are explained below the picture.

Windows 7 Basics 2
Windows 7 Basics 2

  • Icons – an icon is a small picture on your screen that can represent a file, a program, a network share, or a shortcut to something. When you double-click on an icon on the desktop, the file/program/shortcut will open.
  • Start Menu – gives quick access to programs and common places in Windows. This will be discussed in greater detail below.
  • Taskbar – the taskbar is typically at the bottom of your screen (although it can be moved) and it contains your Start menu, Quick Launch toolbar, buttons for open windows, and the system tray.
  • System Tray – the system tray contains your clock, as well as a few other icons. Programs like Sophos Antivirus are always running in the background and they keep an icon there so that you know they’re running and you can access the program quickly. There is also a speaker icon which can be used to control the volume of sound on your computer. You may also see notifications for Windows updates and a variety of other things, depending on what software is installed on your computer.

The Taskbar

One of Windows 7’s most important features is the ability to “multitask”, or have many programs and windows open at once. At the heart of Windows 7’s multitasking lies the taskbar. Understanding how to effectively use the taskbar will help you get more done, faster.

The taskbar has some degree of customization. To customize it, first right-click on the bar and uncheck Lock the Taskbar. It is now unlocked. You can drag the taskbar to any side of the screen and can also resize it by clicking and dragging it from its edge.

If you want your taskbar to hide when you aren’t using it, right-click on the taskbar and click Properties. Put a check mark on the Auto-hide the Taskbar setting.

When you open a program or something that needs a new window, a button appears in the taskbar for that window. If you need to switch from one window to another (say, from Firefox to Word), you can click on the Word button in the taskbar. You can also switch from one window to another by clicking on the other window, or by using the Alt+Tab keystroke (hold the Alt key, then hit Tab to toggle between windows).

Windows 7 Basics 3
Windows 7 Basics 3

If you have multiple windows open in the same program, Windows 7 will group them under the same icon; resulting in a taskbar that isn’t as cluttered. To view the different windows in a program, just hover your cursor over the icon for the program you may want to use and a preview of all the windows open in that program will appear. You can then choose/close which ever window you’d like.

Windows 7 Basics 4
Windows 7 Basics 4

The Start Menu

The Start menu is designed to give you quick access to almost anything on your computer, no matter what program you have open or what you’re doing. If you are more familiar with how the Start menu looked in previous versions of Windows, you’ll notice that Windows 7’s Start menu only has minor changes in appearance. On the left side of the Start menu you will find shortcuts to programs on your computer. The ones at the top are pinned to the Start menu, and the ones below the divider are ones that you frequently use or have used recently. If you want to run one of the programs or open one of the folders, just click on what it is you want to work with. If you want to see what’s in the jump list you’ve created for a certain program, just roll-over the arrow next to the program. If there is a program that is in the list on the start menu that you don’t want, you can right-click it and choose “Remove from this list.”

Windows 7 Basics 5
Windows 7 Basics 5

Moving your mouse onto All Programs will change the display on the left side of the Start menu to include the programs and folders in your Start menu. From here, you can select a program, or click on a folder to view the programs within that folder. Clicking on the folder a second time will collapse the list of options. Notice there is a scroll bar if the list becomes too long and there is also a Back button for navigation.

Windows 7 Basics 6
Windows 7 Basics 6

The System Tray

The system tray is designed for applications that run in the background. These applications can be for notification (for example, a program to monitor your computer’s temperature), for background protecting your computer (like Sophos Antivirus) or for other things.

By default, Windows 7 hides icons that it considers to be inactive. You can click the arrow to briefly show all of your system tray icons.

In some cases, you might have a system tray icon that you don’t want there. A common example is the QuickTime system tray icon that you get when you install the iTunes software. The procedure for disabling these system tray icons varies widely from application to application, but you can often right-click the icon in question and click Close or Quit or enter the application’s preferences to disable the system tray icon.

The system tray also contains your clock. If you need to change the system’s date and time, simply click on the clock and then select Change date and time settings. You shouldn’t need to do this on Luther machines because they are synchronized with Luther’s time server.

Working With Windows

When you open a program or folder in Windows 7, it will open in a window. Although no two programs are exactly the same, windows have a lot of things in common. Once you’ve grasped how to use these elements, you will understand how to use them in any program.

Windows 7 Basics 7
Windows 7 Basics 7

  • Title Bar – the title bar is found at the top of any window. It contains the name of the program you are using and/or the name of the file/folder open in the window.
  • Minimize Button – if you need to hide a window to get it out of the way, click the minimize button. To see a minimized window just click its corresponding button in the taskbar.
  • Maximize/Restore Button – if you would like the window to take up the entire screen, click the maximize button. Once a window is maximized, the maximize button will turn into a restore button which, when clicked, will restore the window to its previous size and position on your screen.
  • Close Button – clicking this button will close the window and whatever file was open in that window. If you have a program open and you close its last window, the program will quit.
  • Window Resizing Handles – to change a window’s size, just move your cursor to one of the window resizing handles, click, and drag.

To move a window, just click on the title bar of the window, and drag.

Locking Your Computer

If you need to leave your desk briefly, just hit WinKey+L (WinKey is the key with the Windows logo on it). You could also press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and then click the Lock Computer button. Another way to lock your computer is to press the Start button and then click on the padlock icon in the lower right corner. You will then be presented with a window that instructs you how to unlock your computer which consists of pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete and then logging back in.

Shutting Down

When you are done with your computer for the day, it’s time to shut it down. Click on the Start button and then select shut down or click the arrow in the lower right hand corner to see more options.

Windows 7 Basics 8
Windows 7 Basics 8

Additional Resources

Review the Help within Windows 7

Most, if not all, of the screens within Windows 7 contain a question mark icon that you can click to receive help related to the topic at hand. In addition, you can click on the Start button and then select Help and Support to receive assistance on a variety of topics.

Review Online Microsoft Resources

Microsoft has many resources available online to help new Windows 7 users. A good place to start would be Windows 7 Help and How-to.

Consult is a provider of web-based software training videos and resources. If you are interested in access to please contact the Technology Help Desk at [email protected] or 563-387-1000.

Review the Technology Help Desk web site

Contact the Technology Help Desk